Jennifer Jacobs: “If it is too good to be true it probably is”

“If it is too good to be true it probably is.” There are no quick fix solutions. If someone tells you that they are going to solve all your problems and make all your dreams come true with a snap of their fingers, it most likely isn’t true. And they most likely have ulterior motives […]

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“If it is too good to be true it probably is.” There are no quick fix solutions. If someone tells you that they are going to solve all your problems and make all your dreams come true with a snap of their fingers, it most likely isn’t true. And they most likely have ulterior motives and want something in return.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Jacobs.

Jennifer Jacobs is the founder and creator of J METHOD Fitness and is a highly coveted international fitness coach. Formerly with Peloton, Jennifer was among one of the original founding ten elite cycling/fitness instructors where she reached thousands of people each day through live streaming or On Demand classes. Through her partnership with Ladder Teams she is now able to make her method of training, the J METHOD, more easily accessible so you can truly train with her anytime, anywhere.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Well, my fitness career started while I was attending college. I went to college pre-med, as I wanted to have a career where I could help people. My father passed away from cancer when I was just sixteen and as a young girl, I watched my father, a dairy farmer and the strongest person I knew, grow weaker as the cancer took over. Seeing the physical change in him is something I will never forget. After he died, I immediately knew that I wanted to do something to help people feel stronger and healthier. So of course the most obvious thing at that age was to become a doctor and that is what I set out to do.

But it’s interesting how life leads you down a certain path and often the path that you were meant to be on rather than what you think you should be on. To help pay for college, I ended up becoming certified as a personal trainer and soon I quickly turned my passion for helping others into a successful business before I had even earned my degree. Turns out I had a natural ability for being able to connect with my clients whose aim was to feel stronger and healthier.

Shortly after I graduated, I found myself living in France but having the need to figure out how to continue my business by training my clients in France, but still train my clients in the U.S. When you are passionate about what you do, like I am, you are committed to helping your clients reach their goals no matter what and no matter where they are. As a result, it was very early on in my career that I recognized the need to have both a physical and a digital space to connect trainers to their clients in order for both parties to be successful. That’s when I started the innovative concept of using SKYPE as the platform to train my clients virtually.

But it wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more. I wanted to help more. Having a strong desire to help the 80% of the population who are sedentary, I knew that I needed a platform that would allow me to reach the masses. Back in 2015, someone told me about this start-up company called Peloton that was trying to bring indoor cycling to people at home virtually. I immediately had this intuitive feeling that it would be the future of fitness and one day have global impact. My instinct was right as I reached out to them and soon joined the team in 2016, quickly becoming one of their top instructors, changing the landscape on how people consume fitness. After the great success that I experienced with Peloton, I still wanted to do more. I now look forward to helping other companies navigate the ever-evolving fitness landscape. At the same time growing my own brand, The J METHOD. My intention is to help make fitness simple in an over complicated world which will allow more and more people access to methods that deliver results and most importantly lead people to live their best life possible, stronger and healthier. Bringing the J METHOD to the Ladder Teams App was the perfect platform to allow me to do this. It’s not follow along workouts, but personalized programmed training with me each week. Ladder Teams allows me to make personal training with me more accessible to everyone.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

There was a short time between my graduation from college and moving to France that I actually spent time training for a fitness competition. I ended up placing 3rd in my very first competition and was quickly told by others in the industry of all the things I needed to do to win 1st place. In the end it wasn’t for me, and some would say that I got distracted from what I was meant to do. But looking back on it, it was the exact path I was supposed to take. Training and preparing for the fitness competition was hard work. I had to follow a regimented training and diet full of so many restrictions. Did I look great? Sure. I was beyond lean and my body fat percentage was one that people dream of! But you know what? I was absolutely miserable. I learned that restricting yourself in such an extreme way, is not something that would be sustainable for the long term. That’s why I educate my clients and I don’t believe in depriving yourself. In the end, you won’t stick to it and will just go back to old habits. I teach my clients to educate themselves about food and to make sound choices. And if they want to treat themselves once in a while, it’s okay. Just in moderation, and most importantly know what you are eating and why you are eating it.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made was not believing in myself sooner, not trusting myself but rather listening to those around me saying that I couldn’t be something or that I was crazy to think I could reach for my dreams. When I was in France, I wanted to do more, help more people. I had these ideas and thoughts of how I could do it, but the person closest to me told me I couldn’t, and I was crazy to think I could be successful in trying or even wanting to help people in such a way. The lesson learned from that — — don’t listen to all the naysayers and white noise around you. Trust yourself, believe in yourself and always reach for your dreams.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes. It is actually a former client of mine and now close friend. She is someone I used to train in person while I was in the U.S. After I moved to France and she moved to New York we stayed in touch and became friends. After she had two kids back-to-back she wanted to get back in shape but I was in France. To make a long story short, I ended up training her virtually and periodically in person (she traveled to Europe on business often), getting her in the best shape of her life. She became a quick believer in the effectiveness of virtual training when done right. We would talk about my ideas of how technology would revolutionize fitness, and how I wanted to do more and reach more. She finally said to me “then why don’t you just do it? What’s stopping you? You are so talented, you’d be great at it, I know you can do it!” And that’s all it took. Just one person who stood in my corner, truly believed in me, my abilities and what I could do. Someone who simply said to me “why not?” rather than “why?” I am truly grateful for all her support and encouragement back then and throughout these years.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

A lot of what I spend time doing is teaching and educating people about the best way to train. Providing them with guidance and the tools they need to help them in their fitness journey. Education is a powerful tool, and it’s no different when it comes to the subject of fitness. The better you educate yourself about how to train efficiently and effectively, the more successful you will be. Don’t just do a workout because it’s there. Understand why you are doing that workout and how it will help you.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Focus as much on rest and recovery as you do training. If you train non-stop you will never give your body a chance to recover. Strength is actually built in the recovery phase.

Make sure you always eat in colors. Rather than keeping a food diary, keep a photo food log. You’d be amazed at what a difference it will make. When you actually “see” what you eat in a day, rather than a list on a piece of paper, it will be easier for you to recognize what changes you need to make. If your food is all one color, for example, it is probably an indication that you are not eating enough fruits or vegetables.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Most of us don’t drink as much water as we should in a day. As a result we often mistaken thirst or de-hydration for hunger. Before reaching for that snack, especially if it is not long after your last meal, try having a glass of water first. More often than not, you will discover that your “craving” for a snack will go away.

Train with a purpose. Avoid the exercise craze or following a workout trend. A workout without a plan is just a workout. If you want to see results and push past plateaus, then you need to have a plan. That is why I am so excited about the J METHOD on the Ladder Teams App where I am able to provide planned programmed personal training with me as your coach.

Don’t underestimate the power and benefits of walking. Walking has so many health benefits from reducing mental stress to optimizing human movement. It doesn’t need to always be intense to be effective.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Well, it would be my whole philosophy of TRAIN LESS, GAIN MORE. The reason a lot of people end up not training is because they don’t think they have enough time. This notion that in order to get a good workout we need 45 mins or more, and we need to sweat a lot is just that, a notion. Neither of those in reality are indications of an effective workout. The JMETHOD is built on the philosophy that you can get an efficient and effective workout in a short amount of time — TRAIN LESS, GAIN MORE.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

“Nobody’s going to hand you anything on a silver platter.” I wasted a lot of time, wanting to do something but thinking I had to wait until someone did it for me and if they didn’t then it was probably not meant to happen. I finally realized that if I wanted something to happen, I had to make it happen.

“If it is too good to be true it probably is.” There are no quick fix solutions. If someone tells you that they are going to solve all your problems and make all your dreams come true with a snap of their fingers, it most likely isn’t true. And they most likely have ulterior motives and want something in return.

“Ignore all the naysayers and white noise.” You will always run into naysayers. Ignore them.

“Just because it hasn’t been done yet doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” Great ideas typically come from those who think of how to do something a different way. So keep thinking outside the box!

“Trust your instincts and always stay true to yourself.” Trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Nothing is worth sacrificing who you are and what you stand for. If what someone asks you to do or be, changes you as a person, walk away.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Actually, I would pick a cause that you did not list above, which is accepting others for exactly who and what they are. Accepting others’ differences, whether it be looks, thoughts, preferences, etc., and not judge them. But just seeing them as simply that, differences that make a person unique. As a mother of two young children, it is important for me that they grow up in a world where they are comfortable just being themselves and even more so, that they are accepting of others exactly as they are. It’s not about being color blind, it’s about seeing the world in technicolor and appreciating all that it has to offer.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can find me @jmethod on Instagram

Jennifer Jacobs on Facebook & @jmethodfitness on Twitter.


Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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